Things Your Cell Group Members Wants You To Know

If you are a cell group leader, read this.

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece by Reuelwrites. This post is not directed at any church leader or pastor in particular.

A few days ago, I read this article by thir.st on the topic ‘Things your cell group leader wants you to know‘ and thought about what it would be like if cell group members could also openly air their opinions. Having undertaken & trained for church leadership for a period of time before relegating to the role of ‘regular member’, I could in a sense understand the perspectives from both sides.

Often the onus/emphasis is placed on members to be a ‘better Christian‘. Yet when members fail to meet expectations, leaders are left pondering “Why can’t my members love God more?“, “Why can’t my members come to church on time or sing louder in cell group?” or simply “Why can’t my members respond to my text?

What if our members can tell us how they feel? Below are my own thoughts.

5 THINGS YOUR MEMBERS WANTS YOU TO KNOW

 

1. I Am Facing Real World Issues

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GIF: giphy.com

When your members’ parents are going through a divorce, are facing difficulties at work or have a death in the family, replying to your message on “Are you coming for cell group meeting?” is obviously not ranked high on their list of priorities.

“It’s been a difficult week but I managed to drag myself to church. I don’t feel good being late, but I hope you understand. I could use a pat on the back.”

Sometimes, for your members to even turn up at church is already an accomplishment in itself.

Of course cell group leaders have their own issues as well, but have we considered that perhaps our members have lesser capacity [than you] to handle their problems; that their bandwidth is already maxed out?

There is also the debate from leaders that “My members didn’t tell me their issues“, which brings me to my second point.

 

2. I Don’t Care How Much You Know, Until I Know How Much You Care

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When was the last time you called your members to ask how are they coping with their work, studies, relationship, or with life in general? When was the last time you asked your members out for a meal with no agenda other than to know them better? I’m not talking about asking them out with an agenda to ‘disciple them‘.

I vividly remember an incident during my first few months as a Christian back in 2005. Back then, 15-year-old me was heading home with my cell group after fellowship at Marina Square. During the conversation with my cell group leader Monica, she found out that I was having financial problems because my parents greatly reduced my pocket money due to my newfound faith.

Without any hesitation, she asked if she could help me financially and offered me money. I was embarrassed and just took $2 from her upon her insistence. But this $2 love offering is something I will remember for life and it forever changed how I look at Monica. That to me was God’s love exemplified and I know that my cell group leader actually cares for me and wants to help.

The thing is, your members first came to church to know God and [through God’s intervention] was placed in your cell group. They do not see the need to have a deep relationship with you, unless you give them a reason to.

There is a saying by CHC’s Pastor Kong, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care“. You can memorise the Gifts/Fruits of the Holy Spirits, you can recite the scriptures from Genesis to Revelations, you can preach 10-point sermons with ease – so what?

Were you there for me when my grandma was sick? Were you aware I was struggling with my sales figures? That’s what your members want to know – that you care.

 

3. Advise Me But Don’t Force Me To Make A Decision You Approve

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“I don’t think this person is right for you”, “I think you shouldn’t divorce him”, or “I think you shouldn’t take up this job if it affects your going to church.” Yes the Bible says not to divorce, yes the Bible says we should take charge of our spiritual health.

But lets not forget the story of Ruth the Moabite [who was supposed to be an enemy of the Jews] who became the model female figure in the Bible for all ladies to emulate. Bible heros Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were working for the evil king Nebuchadnezzar and definitely cannot adhere to all the Jewish customs during that period. And if your member’s husband is physically/verbally abusing her, the last advice you should give her is to tell her “the Bible says you cannot divorce“.

One problem that many Christian leaders have is the issue of micromanaging their members’ lives. Our role as leaders is not to tell them ‘what to do‘ or ‘what not to do‘. Because you cannot take ownership of the decision when sh*t happens.

What if [insert member’s decision contrary to leader’s advice] was God’s will? At the end of the day, conviction must come from God.

This is a controversial topic, but the point I’m bringing up is this – Don’t play God over your members’ lives.

Give God the role that rightfully belongs to Him. Our job as leaders is to advise, not dictate. Sometimes your members need to make mistakes, and learn from them. I firmly believe because we are all ordained by God, all roads lead back to God – even if we make a few detours and wrong turns here and there.

 

4. I Don’t Expect You To Live A Perfect Life

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GIF: gifsgallery.com

One problem many church leaders have is the issue of vulnerability. In this superficial world where people only post their highlight reels on Facebook and Instagram, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only wanting to ‘show your best side to the world‘. But alas, the world isn’t perfect, and so isn’t our lives.

Your members don’t expect you to be the perfect Christian. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s impossible to be the ‘perfect Christian‘ in this fallen world. Of course that shouldn’t stop all of us from wanting to be a better Christians.

But please don’t put up the ‘High and mighty‘ or the ‘Everything is fine‘ demeanour. it’s okay to be *vulnerable to your members. If you are facing difficulties in your own work or even if you need a spiritual breakthrough from God, it’s okay to share the burden with your members.

On the contrary, by being more open with your members, they could perceive you to be more genuine, thus encouraging them to be more open and accountable to you as their cell group leader.

*Of course if you are contemplating difficult topics such as divorce or stepping down from ministry, I think that topic is ‘too much’ for your members to handle and should be shared with other leaders instead (Laughs).

 

5. Just Be My Friend

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GIF: theodysseyonline.com

What if some of your members can never fully respect, accord or look up to you as a cell group leader? What if they can never ‘submit under your discipleship?‘ Can you love them nevertheless?

French philosopher famously came up with the saying “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

“What if your husband/wife will always have this character flaw/bad habit which he/she will never be able to change? Can you still love him regardless?” One key topic that pastors always preach in marriage preparation classes is that spouses should learn to love and accept their partners for who they are, and not try to change them.

In the same vein, as a leader we must understand and come to terms with the fact that some members just wants a normal friendship, not a leader-member relationship with you – much less a discipleship. If I already have a boss at work who’s breathing down my neck every single day, the last thing I want is a discipler telling me how to conduct my life.

Perhaps due to their past grievance or simply their character, they cannot ‘submit‘ to you – at least not at this moment.

But it is not your duty to make them submit. It is not your duty to make them agree to be your disciple. You are not their paymaster or parent. That honour goes to God. Instead, avail time to press into your members’ lives and pray to God regularly that your members will experience a more closer relationship with God.

I believe that their quest to love God and be more in line with God’s will, will lead them [to submit under your leadership]. RW

Week 1: Nuggets, Nuggets, And More Nuggets

Reuelwrites embarks on a 52-week volunteering expedition with charity ‘Willing Hearts’, documenting his experience in the process.

For the last four months of 2017, I have been thinking about volunteering my time with a charity/non-profit organisation. 2017 has been a good year for me as I saw the hand of God bless my real estate business, and the Lord reminded me to ‘feed His sheep’ (John 21:15).

It came to a point where this [need to help someone] was weighing down on me and I knew I have to volunteer somewhere, anywhere. So I spent the last few months of 2017 looking for an organisation to volunteer at. For individuals looking to make a difference, read The Smart Local’s article, 36 Places to Volunteer At In Singapore To Make A Difference In Someone’s Life‘. 

I challenge myself to volunteering with Willing Hearts for 52 consecutive weeks starting from first week of 2018. I have also signed up with Assisi Hospice to volunteer with them.

According to Willing Hearts website, ‘Willing Hearts is wholly run by volunteers, apart from a handful of staff. It operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 daily meals to over 40 locations island wide, 365 days a year. Beneficiaries include the elderly, the disabled, low income families, children from single parent families or otherwise poverty stricken families, and migrant workers in Singapore.’

For individuals who want to make something out of their lives by helping others, read my account below for what transpired during my first week of volunteering! Feel free to volunteer with Willing Hearts or any other organisation, or share this story with your friends.

 

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PHOTO: Me with a hair net.. I find it hilarious I have to still wear one (Laughs)

4.30am – I feel like dying. Can’t remember when was the last time I woke up at this time. Only sleeping at my usual timing of 2.30am the day before didn’t help. Took me another 3 more snoozes before I dragged myself up.

5am – Took the quickest shower and sped down to Willing Hearts. Found that I was the first volunteer to reach. Approached a senior-looking staff to ask how I can help. He told me to wear a hair net, the irony.

The staff told me to help move the rice, oil and dumplings out. He instructed me to be careful when rolling the dumplings down the ramp as the dumplings might all fall out if I didn’t hold the trolley right. Isn’t that too important a role for a newbie like me?

Was asked by a young chap, “Why did you come so early?”

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GIF: ign.com

5.30am – The staff told me to help the young chap with the frying of the nuggets. We poured the oil into two huge-ass woks. I watched him turn on the stove. Even turning on the stove looked menacing. In the meantime, we opened up the bags of nuggets and poured them into trays to ready them for frying. The nugget section consists of just the two of us.

5.33am – The woks are finally heated up. I watched the young chap pour the nuggets into the two woks. Hot oil splattering everywhere. Looks scary. I think I will stick to opening the nugget bags and pouring them into the trays.

5.35am – The young chap demonstrated how to drain the oil from the nuggets using the skimmer. That looked easy.

5.36am – The young chap told me to put the next batch into the wok. Oh-ma-gawd. The only thing I’ve ever cooked from home are soft-boiled eggs, cup noodles and maggie noodles. I’m not ready for this huge responsibility.

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5.37am – Here goes nothing.

5.38am – Got slightly scalded on my first attempt. But I soldier on, because it’s for the benefit of needy people – this I tell myself. The young chap munched on the nuggets to try them. He told me to try them too or eat them when I want to. I hesitate.

5.45am – I spy with my little eye a ang moh walking into the kitchen. He jovially greets the staff. It seems that he’s a regular volunteer here. Makes me wonder why a foreigner would be more concerned with my country’s needy people than our own local people.

6.15am – I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Finally popped one nugget in my mouth. Not bad!

6.20am – The ang moh volunteer comes over to our ‘counter’ and informs us, “The nuggets are really good!” My Asian complex kicked in and all I could muster was an “Ah”, but my heart shouts “Oh Yippie!” Confidence rising.

6.30am – More volunteers start streaming in, including volunteers from Polytechnics – I assume.

7am – Open nuggets, fry nuggets, drain nuggets, repeat. I’m getting good at this, or so I thought.

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GIF: giphy.com

7.03am – Discovered that they have opened three assembly lines. We need to fry faster!

7.15am – Engaged in small talk with the young chap while cooking. K tells me that he just graduated from NUS Engineering. I asked him if he started working. K tells me that he’s working part-time at Willing Hearts while looking for a job. He has been volunteering with Willing Hearts for six months.

7.20am – Took a quick water break. I have been frying nuggets for hours now. I got oil on my skin and clothes. I could even feel it seep into my skin. Starting to feel a little tired but I could feel the joy of having needy people eat stuff cooked by me.

7.25am – I thought my job was one of the toughest, it wasn’t. I looked around at what everyone was doing. Those chaps cooking the rice and vegetables in huge-ass pots seemed to be expending a lot of arm strength. I feel better already.

7.30am – Open nuggets, fry nuggets, drain nuggets, repeat. Did I mention that cooking at Willing Hearts is almost like working one’s biceps at the gym except that it’s better? It’s free gym.

7.40am – I could feel fatigue slowly overwhelming me now.

7.55am – Every sense of altruism that I first felt flew out of the window. Now I just waiting for my ‘shift’ to end.

8am – Half-an-hour more to go. Eugene, you got this.

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8.10am – Another senior staff comes over to our section for more nuggets. I stand down as he briefly took over the frying. He tells me I need to follow his method to fry the nuggets. I lost my nugget chef confidence. I went back to my comfort zone of opening nugget bags.

8.20am – He told me to take over the frying again.

8.30am – Nobody is leaving. Omg.

8.40am – The senior staff comes back to help with the frying occasionally. He informs us they need another 3,000 nuggets. I fainted in my head.

9am – Open nuggets, fry nuggets, drain nuggets, repeat.

9.05am – I spotted a really cute volunteer. Oh concentrate, Reuel!

9.15am – I think we are close to finishing. I’m amazed how the staff have so much stamina to do this everyday. I’m dying from just one day of volunteering. They must really love people. I can do better at loving people. C’mon, Reuel.

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GIF: buzzfeed.com

9.17am – The staff informs us they need another “2,000 nuggets”. I felt like dying.

9.30am – Open nuggets, fry nuggets, drain nuggets, repeat.

9.32am – The last time I felt so tired could be when I was still in the army.

9.40am – The staff comes over to inform us they need another 1,000 nuggets. I’m now a zombie in The Walking Dead.

9.55am – The staff informs us they have enough packs. Oh the sound of music. We pack up the remaining uncooked nuggets for cooking the following day. K tells me to leave first. There will be other volunteers coming to help with the cleaning. I obliged.

10am – I take my leave. There’s no congratulatory message from the in-charge and the staff – everyone’s doing their equal share to help the needy.

Willing Hearts is mostly run by volunteers, which means to say that if nobody comes to volunteer either to cook or deliver the food, literally thousands would not have a warm meal for that day.

So running the soup kitchen and delivery is kind of a ‘faith-based’ thingy. And the amazing thing is, there are different volunteers coming everyday to help cook and deliver the meals.

I’m pretty sure some of Singapore’s most compassionate people are gathered here everyday. I am also equally, if not more impressed by the tenacity of the staff to ensure every needy receives a packet of warm food – every single day. 

What a humbling experience. We could praise ourselves for packing over five thousand packets of food for the needy, but the day restarts again tomorrow. RW

The Most Difficult New Year’s Resolution For 2018

Possibly the most difficult new year resolution you can ever make for 2018. I dare you.

Truth be told, I did not make any new year’s resolution for 2017, but it turned out way better than I expected. My focus for 2017 was solely on my business and the verse Joel 2:25 came into my remembrance; “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten”.

God has been very good to my real estate business and I capped the year on a high, amongst the top producers in my previous company PropNex and current company Huttons. ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase’ (1 Corinthians 3:6). And for that, I’m grateful to God for His Blessing.

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten”
– Joel 2:25

Perhaps it’s (the realisation of fragility of) one’s finite lifespan that causes us to set new year’s resolution, so as to make (positive) adjustments in our lives. Most of us would make resolutions such as the following:

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New Year’s Resolution | PHOTO: ase.org

 

In the spirit of making new year’s resolutions, I have been thinking of making just one new year’s resolution, and focus on fulfilling it. While all the resolutions stated above are all significant and important in their own right, I want to make 2018 about becoming a better version of myself.

Apart from volunteering with Willing Hearts and Assisi Hospice this year, I’m gonna make a new year’s resolution which even a saint would find difficult to fulfill.

Hence here goes! I am making the new year’s resolution to not be angry at all. That means only entertaining good vibes 24/7, 365 days a year. That would mean not cursing at those novice/fast-n-furious drivers who cut my lane haphazardly, that would mean not being upset with the patron who cut my queue at the Cai Png stall, that would simply mean – not being angry at all.

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PHOTO: notonthehighstreet.com

 

A friend told me that I’m setting myself for failure since even a pastor is susceptible to this very human emotion. But where my capacity is maxed, I rely on God’s. So wish me the strongest of will, and good vibes only!

If you are feeling inspired and want to join in, write to me at reueleugenetay@gmail.com so I know I have a fellow comrade and we can encourage each other! RW

Dear Reuel: I Don’t Want To Rent My House To Indians And PRCs

Dear Reuel,

I am having difficulties finding a tenant but I do not want to rent my property to Indians and PRCs. Indians cook ‘heavy curry’. I have read horror stories of how PRCs leave properties in shitty conditions, or built partitions to rent to their compatriots.

I am not taking any chances. What’s your opinion on this?

– Worried Landlord


Dear Worried Landlord,

Stop being choosy. Did you know that our country is in quite a pickle right now? According to Department of Statistics Singapore, from 2010 to 2016, our total population grew from 5,076,700 to 5,607,300. That’s a population growth of around 88,400 people every year.

If we look at 2017 figures, we are sitting at 5,612,300 in total population. That’s 5,000 in population growth.. Only 5,000 people for crying out loud!

There just aren’t enough tenants coming in to rent homes because our Government has been holding back on issuing work visas (because they fear losing votes come election hur hur).

And if I can be totally blunt, we Singaporeans are the perfect example how Singapore is still centuries away from eliminating racial discrimination. We know it’s a serious problem when even the BBC headlined the article ‘No Indians No PRCs’: Singapore’s rental discrimination problem, some years ago.

For all that talk about Singapore being a ‘racially harmonious’ country and a melting pot of different cultures, our foreign friends have to be screened for their nationality before being ‘allowed’ to rent a house. How sad is that?

First of all, how do we define a ‘good tenant’? A good tenant is one who pays rent on time, doesn’t give trouble to the landlord, makes a concerted effort to keep the said property in a reasonable condition (amid normal wear and tear).

Next, may I clarify that property agents are NOT allowed to ‘indicate preference for any race or religion in all advertisements’ according to the Council of Estate Agencies’ Practice Guidelines on Ethical Advertising. Asking your agent to indicate the racial preference is akin to telling him to get his license suspended.

The chief concern most landlords have is that Indians will do a lot of ‘heavy cooking’ which will wreck kitchens or which stench is hard to remove. Yes, I do understand from my Indian national friends that many of them have no choice but to cook from home because they are vegetarians (by Singapore standards). This promptly eliminates much of their choices from the available food offerings in Singapore restaurants and food courts.

Now, who’s to say that renting to a Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, British, Russian, Canadian, German, American [or insert whichever nationality you are biased for] means there will confirm plus chop guarantee not be any problems with your house?

So, their need to cook is undeniable. But instead of denying them from renting your property in this challenging rental market especially when the Indian (and PRC) community forms majority of the renters, why not talk things out? Here’s what I suggest. Talk things through and inform the tenants, “I’m going to need you to return my apartment in the same state as it was before it was rented out to you.”

A good tenant is one who pays rent on time, doesn’t give trouble to the landlord, makes a concerted effort to keep the said property in a reasonable condition (amid normal wear and tear).

Next, many landlords fear renting to PRCs (People’s Republic of China) because they are [perceived to be] rowdy, makes lots of noise, do not take care of the house, or worst of all – illegally partitions out the landlord’s home to make rental income.

So, most of us probably had that first relationship which ended really bad. Are you going to swear off dating and marriage because of that? Does that mean we let that first bad experience stop us from finding the ‘right partner’? If yes, then I give up. Please keep trying to rent your property to non-PRCs.

The truth is that yes, some of their compatriots have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. But that does not mean ALL of them are rowdy troublemakers who wreck homes and partitions properties for profit!

Find a responsible property agent who will do a good screen-through of the tenant. As mentioned earlier, a PRC tenant may be a far better tenant than the British tenant whose dog chews on everything or that Mexican tenant who refused to allow any viewings when you try to sell your property.

All good articles end with a good story, so here’s one. Now suppose you paid for a ticket on a swanky Western airline to fly to your dream destination. You’re in the plane all set and ready to go when there’s an announcement over the intercom, “The plane is overbooked, and we gonna have to ask one of you to vacate your seat for the next flight instead.” Now you’re the only Asian in the plane and somehow, you’re the only one told to vacate your seat. Sounds familiar? Well, that’s exactly how we make our Indian and PRC friends feel too, isn’t it?

In the end, a good tenant isn’t defined by his nationality or place of birth but by his/her ability to pay rent on time and maintain the house in reasonable condition. And the bank installments don’t pay for itself, especially in this challenging rental market as shared in the previous Dear Reuel.

Be a smart landlord, not a choosy and broke one. RW

 

Editor’s note: Every week, Reuelwrites dishes out uncensored, practical advice to friends, family members or strangers regarding real estate. Got a question for Reuelwrites? Email it to eugenetayhy@gmail.com.

Consultation: There is no one-advice-fits-all solution. For more in-depth advice, contact Reuelwrites at eugenetayhy@gmail.com or call +65 9833-6450.

Disclaimer: While the author Reuelwrites is a certified real estate agent with Huttons Asia, the above thoughts represents his own and is in no way representative to that of Huttons Asia.

Dear Reuel: Should I Compromise On My Asking Rent?

Dear Reuel, 

I have been putting my 3 bedroom condo unit for rent at an asking price of $3,000. I’m willing to negotiate to $2,800 since it was last rented out at $2,800. That’s reasonable right? I have an offer of $2,500 and the tenant can move in by end of the month.

I was told by my agent to consider the offer since the recent transaction is hovering between the $2,300 to $2,600 range due to the weakened rental market. That’s so low! Do you think I should compromise on my asking rent?

– Reasonable Landlord


Hi Reasonable Landlord,

So you have an offer of $2,500 and the tenant can move in at the end of the month.. What are you waiting for?! Take the offer already!

While the property market is beginning to pick up as supply of new launch properties diminishes, the takeup rate in the rental market is slower in response. According to a Singapore Business Review article, private residential vacancy rate stands at 30,100 at the end of Q3 2017.

The root cause is due to the fact that there just aren’t enough Foreign talents coming to S’pore to work. And it isn’t because Singapore is undesirable. Rather, the reason why we are in a pickle is because of us – our dear fellow netizens who complained about having too much Foreign talents in S’pore. Our dear PAP-run Government responded in kind by granting lesser work visas.

Simple economics of supply and demand has it that when demand is not able to meet the supply, prices slide and vice versa. I hope you weren’t one of the netizens because you would have literally sabo yourself. #ownselfsaboownself

Here’s a true story. I had a landlord who wanted to rent a 3 bedroom condo unit in East. The condo is an older condo and requires a ten minutes walk from Tanah Merah MRT. Landlord has previously enjoyed past rentals of around $3,000/month and was determined to keep it that way.

She asked me to assist to rent her property out at $3,000. I explained to her it was difficult since the recent rentals was around $2,600 but advertised at $3,000. After three months of marketing and arranging viewings, I managed to get her an offer from a local tenant family of three, at $2,800.

Guess what? She refused! She insisted that the tenant increase the offer by $50 to make it $2,850. The tenant was unwilling to do so and the deal fell through. And it took another four months before she rented her unit out to a tenant at.. drumroll please$2,500. *Shakes head*

The opportunity cost was more than seven months loss of rental income. While this is one of the more extreme (true) cases, it can happen to you if you are asking for sky-high prices for your property.

If your property agent convinced you to buy a new property promising high rental returns, chase him or her to rent it out at the promised rental yield. 

Your priority is to make sure your unit isn’t vacant, or at least not for too long. Get your unit occupied so you still get rental income coming into to help you shoulder the monthly installments. While you may feel butt-hurt that you couldn’t rent out at the price you wanted, remember – it’s better than having it vacant for months.

But good news, the rental market WILL recover. I quote TODAY Online’s 5 December 2017 article, “Raising the intake of working-age foreigners will help shore up growth and fiscal revenue, and reduce the tax burden on younger Singaporeans”.

It’s only a matter of time before the Government open the floodgates to bring in more foreigners. Soldier on fellow landlords! RW

 

Editor’s note: Every week, Reuelwrites dishes out uncensored, practical advice to friends, family members or strangers regarding real estate. Got a question for Reuelwrites? Email it to eugenetayhy@gmail.com.

Consultation: There is no one-advice-fits-all solution. For more in-depth advice, contact Reuelwrites at eugenetayhy@gmail.com or call +65 9833-6450.

Disclaimer: While the author Reuelwrites is a certified real estate agent with Huttons Asia, the above thoughts represents his own and is in no way representative to that of Huttons Asia.

How Do We Deal With Death?

Question. How do we actually deal with the end of life?

18 August last year, I received a call from my mother that my grandmother, her mother might not have much time left. I canceled all my appointments and rushed down to the nursing home. They say that we not only lose weight, but we shrink as we approach the end of one’s life.

By this time, my grandmother who has been bedridden due to multiple illnesses for the past few years seemed to have indeed shrunk in size and her skin, now a pale colour. Her current state was a stark difference from the healthy and plumper grandma I remembered when I was younger.

I was never really that close to my maternal grandmother but I do know this. That my mom loved her from the bottom of her heart. She was always the most filial (in my opinion), the daughter who visited the most. Grandma has been holding out for quite a while, but this time it seemed that she was going to leave us for real. She left us that evening.

Perhaps we knew it was only a matter of time. But when it came, no amount of self-preparation could equip us for the fateful day as my mother and I wept by her deathbed.

 

‘From the moment we are born, we begin to die’
– Danish Writer, Janne Teller

 

Even as global literacy rate increases globally, and primary school mathematics become increasingly impossible to solve, it seems that we are taught a great many things – except how to approach death.

Danish writer Janne Teller aptly sums life up in just ten words; ‘From the moment we are born, we begin to die’.

Valar Morghulis, all man must die.

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From Left: My Late Maternal and Late Paternal Grandmother | Taken on a rare family cruise trip

And the thing is, death is no respecter of age, status or wealth. When it comes, it comes. And sometimes, there is no time for preparation. I remembered attending the funeral of a friend a few years ago. She was 27 when she passed on.

It can be especially difficult for Christians to reconcile this. More often than not, we believe, pray and declare over our loved one’s life that “God is your Jehovah Rapha, He will heal you”. But what if God does allows the opposite? At the same time, didn’t God also declare that this life we live is but a temporal phase, because we will eventually enter into His life everlasting where there is no more pain and suffering?

Some folks may choose to rebel against traditional conventions. I vaguely remember a friend mentioning that he would like to have a party (complete with booze) in his honour instead of a funeral, so that there will be ‘no tears’ – only celebration. For some alternative and peculiar funeral ideas, click here, here and here.

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PHOTO: adobecreekfuneralhome.com

The truth – that everyone already knows – is this, no one lives forever. So, do we wish/pray for healing? If by some miracle the loved one is healed but goes into another relapse a few months later, do we wish/pray for another miracle? If so, for how many (more) times?

At the same time, in order to preserve whatever remains of one’s life, we consent to doctors injecting more drugs into the patient’s body, thus subjecting him/her to prolonged suffering. When do we stop? But if we know that all man must die (eventually), then should we continue to offer lip service to ‘get well soon’?

Perhaps we are hoping against hope that we can delay death – to share one last moment, to resolve a past grievance, to ask for forgiveness, or simply to see his or her last smile.

I apologise if you have read so far expecting an answer, or if this post offended you in any way. Heck, maybe this post doesn’t even make any sense. There isn’t any easy way out to deal with death. But life goes on, it has to.

We can’t delay the inevitable, but we can start creating memories and cherishing moments with our loved ones, today. While we mourn their departure, we celebrate their life that’s well lived.

And importantly, in view of our own mortality, we can put aside petty quarrels and live a life of no regrets; one filled with tons of laughter, love and, surrounded by the people that matters. RW